Meet Celtic’s new­est sign­ing

En­ter­prise: Sports fash­ion start-up secures deal with Scot­tish cham­pi­ons

The Press and Journal (Aberdeenshire) - - BUSINESS - BY KEITH FIND­LAY

An Aberdeen sports fash­ion start-up launched by an out of work oil and gas in­dus­try worker has signed a li­cens­ing deal with Scot­tish foot­ball cham­pi­ons Celtic.

Col­lette Nor­val, 27, was on a Wood Group PSN grad­u­ate pro­gramme when she be­came yet an­other ca­su­alty of the North Sea down­turn.

She set up her so­cial en­ter­prise, Squad, just last year.

It al­ready pro­duces “snood” scarves for seven out of the 12 Scot­tish Pre­mier­ship foot­ball clubs, in­clud­ing Aberdeen, as well as Ed­in­burgh Rugby and the Glas­gow War­riors rigby team.

Ms Nor­val has renowned so­cial en­tre­pre­neur, Aberdeen FC di­rec­tor and for­mer PSN chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Duncan Skin­ner to thank for both the idea and a start-up loan.

The pair met when she was on sec­ond­ment at Gran­ite City mat­tress­maker Glen­craft, the so­cial en­ter­prise Mr Skin­ner saved from clo­sure in 2010.

Squad has also re­ceived help from Busi­ness Gate­way.

Other clients in­clude a Scot­tish beer-maker and a na­tional char­ity. All of the com­pany’s prof­its are do­nated to char­ity via the Skin­ner Char­i­ta­ble Trust.

Ms Nor­val said the deal with Celtic, which sees Squad sell­ing scarves em­bossed with the Glas­gow club's fa­mous four-leaf clover crest, had the po­ten­tial to raise Squad’s pro­file on a global scale.

She added: “Hav­ing Duncan, a highly re­garded busi­ness­man and di­rec­tor of Aberdeen FC, as our chair­man has un­doubt­edly opened a lot of doors for us, par­tic­u­larly with Scot­land’s top foot­ball teams.

“And the help our Busi­ness Gate­way ad­viser has given re­gard­ing mar­ket­ing and sales has been ex­tremely valu­able.

“Tak­ing part in an IP (in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty) au­dit or­gan­ised by our ad­viser be­fore we even launched meant we avoided mak­ing a big mis­take right at the start.

“We aim to build re­la­tion­ships with more clubs in Scot­land and tar­get those in the English pre­mier­ship and Cham­pi­onship.”

TWO UP TOP: Duncan Skin­ner gave Col­lette Nor­val the idea and start-up loan for the suc­cess­ful Squad en­ter­prise

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